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Bloomberg looks to make more documentaries and talk shows

Bloomberg Media is adding more documentaries and talk shows to its rebranded streaming platform, as the news publisher sees growth in advertising-supported video despite headwinds in the ad market.

The company on Wednesday is expected to rename its “Quicktake” streaming channel “Bloomberg Originals” to better reflect the longer-form nature of its offerings. Coming shows include “The Future with Hannah Fry,” which will explore the impact of science and technology, and “Next in Sports,” hosted by Bloomberg journalists.

“I don’t want to call it the golden age of documentaries and infotainment,” Scott Havens, chief executive of Bloomberg Media, said in an interview. “But clearly, if you look at any of the platforms, you will see heavy investment in that.”

Mr. Havens said Bloomberg’s primary focus was to create content for its own streaming platform but noted the company also planned to license more of its intellectual property to others, such as entertainment streaming services or TV networks. Bloomberg is planning to hire someone in a new position in Los Angeles to build relationships with third-party production companies and platforms to help develop Bloomberg’s IP into series or shows, he said.

The “Quicktake” streaming channel was launched in 2020. The “Quicktake” brand, which was primarily associated with short social-media videos, had previously existed as TicToc, but was re-christened in 2019 to avoid confusion with ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok platform. The Quicktake name will continue to brand shorter videos on social media.

The company’s streaming platform doesn’t require a subscription, but its content comes with ads. Bloomberg doesn’t disclose full financial results, but Mr. Havens said its ad-supported video business brought in more than $100 million in revenue last year. Global ad revenue across Bloomberg Media, including video ads, display ads and sponsorships, increased by 17% in 2022 despite slower-than-usual growth of close to 10% in the U.S., he said.

A number of ad-supported digital publishers are anticipating a tough start to the year as some advertisers cut spending because of economic uncertainty. But marketers are shifting spending to video, said Mr. Havens, making the case for lighter, ad-supported videos.

As part of its effort to build “Bloomberg Originals,” the company on Wednesday launched “Getting Warmer,” a climate-themed show hosted by actor and comedian Kal Penn. Last year, it introduced “How I Got Here,” a talk show hosted by NBA star Chris Paul.

In addition to “Bloomberg Originals,” the company’s streaming app features content from Bloomberg TV, which includes free, ad-supported live markets and financial news, as well as some of Bloomberg’s feature programming. Bloomberg TV also has a traditional TV channel.

Bloomberg Media’s parent derives a large portion of its revenue from its professional services business, including subscriptions to its data terminal. Bloomberg Media also generates subscription revenue from its news business, which includes its news site and Bloomberg Businessweek magazine.

Bloomberg’s efforts to create more documentaries and entertaining fare come as other traditional news publishers expand into the field. The New York Times has made several documentaries that were available on other platforms, including “Framing Britney Spears” and “Elon Musk’s Crash Course.” BuzzFeed Inc. helped produce “Once Upon A Time In Londongrad,” a series inspired by a BuzzFeed investigation into U.K. ties to Russia that recently premiered on Comcast Corp.’s Peacock streaming service. The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, was behind the “Eat The Rich: The GameStop Saga” limited series for Netflix Inc. The Wall Street Journal

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